Cancer reduction in Alberta

Nearly 1 in 2 Albertans are expected to develop cancer in their lifetime. In 2019, an estimated 9,865 Albertans will learn they have cancer. As Alberta’s population continues to grow and age, the number of new cancer cases is also on the rise.

Thanks to increased prevention and screening efforts, and new treatments, technology and research, more people are being diagnosed earlier, entering treatment sooner and living longer.

Changing Our Future: Alberta’s Cancer Plan to 2030 was developed to help change our future. The plan’s goal is that in 2030, Alberta will be a place where most cancers are prevented, more cases of cancer are cured and the suffering of people affected by cancer is dramatically reduced.

Read Alberta’ cancer plan

Artificial tanning requirements

All tanning facility owners and employees are required to comply with the Skin Cancer Prevention (Artificial Tanning) Act and Artificial Tanning Regulation, as of January 1, 2018.

Skin Cancer Prevention (Artificial Tanning) Act and Regulation 2018

The Skin Cancer Prevention (Artificial Tanning) Act protects Albertans under the age of 18 and helps Albertans know about the health risks of ultraviolet (UV) artificial tanning, so informed decisions can be made.

UV artificial tanning may cause melanoma and other forms of skin cancer. UV emitting devices are classified as group 1 carcinogens by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in Alberta and accounts for more than one-third of all new cancer cases. Ultraviolet radiation exposure accounts for about 82% of melanoma, which is the deadliest form of skin cancer.

As of January 1, 2018, businesses who provide artificial tanning are:

  • prohibited from providing UV artificial tanning services to minors
  • prohibited from advertising UV artificial tanning services to minors
  • required to post specific signage at every public entrance, point of sale, and in each room where a UV tanning device is present
  • prohibited from providing unsupervised artificial tanning equipment in public places

Age restriction

The Skin Cancer Prevention (Artificial Tanning) Act and the Artificial Tanning Regulation make it illegal to sell or provide UV artificial tanning services to anyone under the age of 18 in Alberta.

The Act applies to anyone under the age of 18 (minors), even if the minor has the consent of his or her parent or guardian to purchase or use UV artificial tanning services, or a prescription from a physician.

Identification required / Proof of age

The Act requires employees to ask anyone seeking UV artificial tanning services, who appears to be under the age of 25, for identification.

Acceptable forms of identification are:

  • an operator’s licence or driver’s licence
  • a passport
  • a Canadian permanent resident card
  • a Canadian Armed Forces identity card or
  • other documentation issued by the federal government, another province, or another country

The identification must be valid, that is, not expired, and must show the person’s full name, photograph, date of birth and signature.

Advertising and marketing restrictions

It is illegal to direct UV artificial tanning services advertising to minors. This includes:

  • advertising that is placed in media targeted to minors, such as high school yearbooks
  • advertising that uses depictions targeted to minors, such as cartoons or models who appear to be minors

Unsupervised artificial tanning

Access to artificial tanning equipment in a public place, such as in a fitness facility, must be supervised, with a staff member controlling access and checking user’s ID as required.

Enforcement

Alberta Health Services Public Health Inspectors enforce the Act and Regulation.

Any business or person who contravenes or fails to comply with the Act and Regulation commits an offence and is liable –

  • in the case of an individual, such as a worker, to a fine of up to $500
  • in the case of a corporation, fines of:
    • up to $2,000 for the first offence
    • up to $5,000 for the second offence
    • up to $10,000 for the third and any subsequent offence

Non-tanning services

The Act only bans businesses from selling UV artificial tanning services to minors.

A business may sell non-ultraviolet artificial tanning services (such as a spray-on tan) to someone under the age of 18.

Employees under 18 years of age

Employees are not required to be over 18 years of age to sell UV tanning services. However, the UV artificial tanning ban also applies to employees. Business owners must be aware that youth staff are not allowed to purchase or use ultraviolet artificial tanning services.

It is important for business owners to properly train all staff regarding the Act and Regulation and make sure they understand what the requirements and penalties are.

Required signage

All artificial tanning facilities are required to use the signage noted below. The signs must be posted at all:

  • entryways
  • points of sale – at each cash register facing both the employee and customer
  • points of service – in all rooms with a UV emitting device

All signage must be clearly visible, unobstructed and kept in good condition.

Download the tanning facility signage (PDF, 4.2 MB) Print them off, trim to size and post them up as required.

Read the Artificial Tanning Facility Signage Standards

1. Entrance sign

An entrance sign must be displayed within 0.5 metre of each entrance door. Each sign must be:

  • exactly 12.7 cm by 12.7 cm (5 inches by 5 inches)
  • printed in colour

Each entrance sign must have the same form, content and colour as provided.

Entrance sign

2. Point of sale sign facing customers

A sign facing customers must be displayed at each point of sale. Each sign must be:

  • located within 1 metre of each cash register or other place in the artificial tanning facility where payment is made and identification is verified
  • exactly 12.7 cm by 12.7 cm (5 inches by 5 inches) in size
  • printed in colour

Each POS sign must have the same form, content and colour as provided.

Point of sale sign facing customers

3. Point of sale sign facing employees

A sign facing employees must be displayed at each point of sale. Each sign must be:

  • located within 1 metre of each cash register or other place in the artificial tanning facility where payment is made and identification is verified
  • exactly 12.7 cm by 12.7 cm (5 inches by 5 inches) in size
  • printed in colour

Each sign must have the same form, content and colour as provided.

Point of sale sign facing employees

4. Health warning sign

A health warning sign must be displayed near each piece of artificial tanning equipment. Each sign must be:

  • located within 1 metre of the each piece of equipment
  • exactly 21.6 cm by 35.5 cm (8.5 inches by 14 inches) in size
  • printed in colour

Each health warning sign must have the same form, content and colour as provided.

Health warning sign

Contact

Contact Alberta Health Services with concerns about potential violations

Submit any questions or concerns regarding the Act and Regulation to the Government of Alberta